Published Mon, Oct 15, 2012 6:07 pm Dateline
Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials will hold a series of public meetings next week in Southeast Ohio to discuss local abandoned mine land projects proposed in 14 Ohio counties.
Meetings are scheduled in Athens on Oct. 23, Cambridge on Oct. 24 and New Philadelphia on Oct. 25 for residents in the area and surrounding counties.
A spokesperson for the department says meeting attendees will learn more about Ohio's Abandoned Mine Land Program and the proposed projects, which include high wall reformation, acid mine draining and the filling of mine shafts that are known to create health and safety risks.
Projects have been proposed in eleven Southeast Ohio counties, including Belmont, Carroll, Hocking, Jackson, Meigs, Morgan, and Perry counties.
Blake Arthur, ODNR's public health and safety programming manager for abandoned land mine projects, said ODNR will apply for an $18 million federal grant in November to help fund a portion of the projects.
He said the projects are chosen based on the highest priority to the health and safety of the public and private homeowners.
Arthur said the division staff will discuss project grants in addition to environmental and public health and safety impacts to the region.
"If anybody has any abandoned mine problems they know of on their property or near where they live they can bring them to the meeting and discuss with one of public land officers that cover the counties and their region and talk about whether the problem is eligible," he said.
Arthur said ODNR staff will also discuss environmental and public health safety issues associated with Ohio mines that were abandoned prior to Aug. 3, 1977, when legislation addressing the problem went into effect.